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1/30/07

Reporters Without Borders concerned about Iranian journalists after arrests

Source: Reporters Without Borders

Three online journalists and women’s rights activists, Tala’t Taghinia, Mansoureh Shojaie and Farnaz Seify, were arrested at Tehran airport on 27 January as they were about to board a plane for India to undergo journalism training.

They were released the following afternoon after being interrogated at Evin Prison, in the north of the city.

Reporters Without Borders is also concerned about the disappearance of journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who was arrested by the authorities in Sanadaj in Iranian Kurdistan on 25 January and whose family has had no news of him since.

“The arrest of these online journalists demonstrates President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s security and ideological paranoia which prompts him to ban all contact between journalists and foreign organisations and media,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“This incident is also revealing of the fear that the women’s rights movement produces within the regime”, it added.

Tala’t Taghinia, Mansoureh Shojaie and Farnaz Seify were all due to undertake journalism training in India, funded by a foreign organisation, along with 12 other people. Most of them are members of the women’s cultural centre, an organisation which has launched a petition calling for reform of laws that discriminate against women.

The homes of the three journalists were also searched and their computers seized. Although they were released on 28 January the security forces told them that they would be questioned again in the coming weeks. Their computers were not returned to them when they left the prison.

Tala’t Taghinia and Mansoureh Shojaie contribute to several Iranian online publications including Zanestan (city of women - http://herlandmag.net) and Tagir Bary Barbary (Change to equality - http://we-change.org/), which campaign for women’s rights. Farnaz Seify is a journalist on the daily Sarmayeh and runs a very popular blog in Iran, farnaaz.com, but which has been inaccessible since her arrest.

Journalist Adnan Hassanpour, who was arrested in front of his home on 25 January, works for the weekly Asou. Publication has been suspended since 2005 on the orders of the Culture and Islamic Orientation Ministry, because it carried articles about the very tense situation in Iranian Kurdistan.

 

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